In the 1890s, a group of Slavic immigrants, who had settled in Bridgeport, sought to leave the Greek Catholic Church (affiliated with Rome) and join the Orthodox Church in America. After meetings with Fr Alexis Toth (canonized in 1994 as St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre) and Bishop Nicholas of San Francisco, Holy Ghost Orthodox Parish was established in 1894. The church was dedicated on Palm Sunday, 1895, with Fr Toth celebrating the first Divine Liturgy. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia donated six bells to the church. They had been cast in honor of his coronation in 1896. Upon arrival in New York, the bells were held up in customs for payment of a large import duty, but a special bill was passed by Congress and signed by President McKinley allowing the bells to enter the United States duty free. The parish grew and a new church was built at 1510 E. Main St and dedicated on Palm Sunday, 1937. It was rededicated in 1981, with the sealing of the relics of St. Herman of Alaska, brought by His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Sitka, Alaska, replacing the missing relics of St. Barbara.
Bridgeport, Byzantine Revival, Churches